Kids God’s Way
February 7, 2001
Introduction: How to Raise
a Moral Child
Marriage Is the Core of the
Our motive is not to seek God’s
favor but to respond to His love (1 Jn 4:10-11).
Our moral mandate is to love
God & to love others (Mk 12:28-31).
Personalities differ but values
& ethics are the same (Eccl 12:13).
Training begins with the parents
Not only restrict bad behavior
but elevate the good (Gal 5:16-25).
Teach moral principles which
underlie the moral actions (Pr 2:10-12).
Avoid the extremes of authoritarianism
& permissive parenting (Eccl 4:1).
The Touchpoints of Love
The husband-wife relationship
was created for companionship (Gen 2:18-24).
The husband-wife relationship
is complete without children (Gen 1:26-31).
Marriage, therefore, is the
priority in a network of dependent relationships.
In contrast, child centered
parenting places children first.
Couch time, date night, dinner
guests are good ways to uphold this priority.
Love is an identifying mark
of being God’s child (Jn 13:35).
The two sides of love are giving
(action) & receiving (feeling).
Identify the primary love languages
of you, your spouse & children:
Words of encouragement
(1 Cor 8:1, Eph 4:29, Mk 10:16)
Trust is the Father’s Mandate
Acts of service (1 Jn 3:18,
Gift giving (Eph 5:25, Jn
Quality time (Mt 14:23,
Physical touch & closeness
(Mk 10:13-16, Jn 13:23)
Your Child’s Conscience
Trust is the feeling of sustained
confidence in a person, place or thing.
Cultivate family identity through
loyalty & excitement.
Demonstrate love for your wife
through your actions.
Understand your child’s private
world & enter “open windows.”
Give your children the freedom
Encourage your children through
your words, smile & notes.
Guard your tongue & tone
especially during their moments of excitement.
Routinely hug your child particularly
during the early teen years.
Build trust in God’s Word.
Primary conscience is a sense
of right, wrong & shame (Rom 1:18-21, 2:14-15).
is a standard of
right & wrong & the feeling of guilt (1 Sam 24:5)
warns, accuses, prompts
& confirms (Acts 23:1)
is trainable (Ps 119:11,
Character: Respect for Authority
Parents must store up principles
in the child’s “moral warehouse.”
Self control must accompany
moral knowledge for true morality.
The “moral search mechanism“
will seek values to act upon in each situation.
Training is both positive (middle
& upper years) & prohibitive (early years).
Prohibitive training includes
warning, restriction & punishment.
Positive training includes instruction,
encouragement & reinforcement.
Transition your training from
fear of punishment to love of virtue.
By age 3 to 4, you should be
adding moral reasons to your instruction.
Positive conscience says “I’ll
do this or not do that because its right or wrong.”
A prohibitive conscience is
the ongoing state of potential guilt.
Overcome a prohibitive conscience
by focusing on Jesus & positive virtues.
Our character reflects our inward
The primary focus of parenting
is to define God to our children.
By our behavior we help define
God to the world (Mt 5:16).
consider six relationships in
peers & siblings
property of others
Character: Respect for Age
Submission is an attitude that
authority is divinely appointed over us.
Parents are God’s governors
over children’s souls (Ex 20:12).
Parents should not allow children
to mock authority.
Transition from leading by authority
to relational influence once older.
When a child marries a new authority
structure is created.
Obedience & submission to
parents are not required, but honor is.
Adult children should honor
their parents either out of devotion or duty.
Character: Respect for Peers,
Property & Nature
Reverence to the old is linked
to reverence to God (Lev 19:32).
To interrupt, have your child
rest their hand on you until there is a pause.
In doing so they honor others
& gain patience & trust that their need will be met.
When greeted by another, even
a shy child must respond minimally with a “Hi.”
If they refuse, tell the person
“We are working on that” & deal with it at home.
The young & old are equal
in God’s eyes but not in responsibility & experience.
Using the titles Mr. & Mrs.
a child acknowledges their position & experience.
Principles of Obedience
Esteem others more highly than
yourself (Phil 2:3).
Encourage your child to celebrate
the achievements of their siblings.
Remind siblings that they are
each other’s best friends.
A child can go beyond controlling
bad behavior & be sensitive to others.
Doing family-care chores helps
them grow sensitive to human need.
A child’s unique gifts can be
used to buildup & edify other children.
Since “life is not fair,” build
thankfulness so your child can learn contentment.
God ultimately owns (Ps 89:11)
& we are responsible for property (Mt 25:14-30).
When children are young, start
training the respect for property.
Respecting owners removes conditional
respect of the seemingly less valuable.
Also respect other’s dominion
of time, space, rights, & privileges.
Respect nature because God created
it & we are responsible for it.
Respect for nature also includes
respecting those coming behind us (liter).
An aesthetic moral element keeps
us from littering biodegradable things.
Obedience to parents pleases
the Lord ( Col 3:20).
Honoring parents brings long
term blessing (Ex 20:12).
Obedience is to be immediate,
complete, without challenge & without complaint.
Parents undermine obedience
by threatening, repeating, bribing & negotiating.
Rather than rewarding, affirm
the child with either a hug or an encouraging word.
Principles of instruction:
Expect an immediate
& complete response
Never give a command unless
you intend for it to be obeyed
Help the child emotionally
prepare by giving a five minute warning (Col 3:21)
Teach children to look for
the door of escape when tempted to sin (1 Cor 10:13)
Do not sin by reinforcing
their disobedience by doing nothing about it
Require eye contact when
giving face-to-face instruction
A child‘s “yes, Mom” verbal
response commits them to obedience
There are four levels of initiative:
- without prompting, the child obeys with a good attitude
Discipline: Encouragement &
Prompted initiative - with
prompting, the child obeys with a good attitude
Forced initiative - with
prompting, the child obeys with a poor attitude
Suppressed initiative -
with prompting, the child disobeys with a poor attitude
Discipline (from disciple) is
an ongoing relationship with a mentor & student.
Proverbs 1:2-7 says an objective
of life is to know wisdom & instruction.
Proverbs 22:6 says to train
a child & when he is old he will not depart from it.
Flow Chart shows the many elements of instruction including:
giftedness (non-moral) versus behavior (moral)
Encouragement & correction
Identifying accidental versus
intentional behavior (rebellion)
Identifying the level of
offence intentional behavior
Determining the appropriate
response - the punishment must fit the offence
Rebellion may be active, direct,
willful defiance or more passive & indirect:
The haughty look
Pretending not to hear or
Doing something good or
Consider the following when
The frequency of
The context of the moment
The child's age
The overall characterization
Identify how a wrong behavior
fits into the 3 levels of offence.
A reflective timeout can be
used as a:
to control physical or emotional energy
Maintenance strategy to
help a child realign their thinking
Corrective strategy to help
bring the child to repentance & restoration
Timeouts, as culturally practiced,
are not effective for repeated offences:
The child typically
associates sitting with parental frustration not the wrong doing
They learn that the cost
of disobedience is valued only at 5 minutes of sitting
Pain was a gift from God at
creation to curb injury, it was not a result of the fall.
After the fall, pain also came
from the natural consequences of disobedience.
When pain does not come naturally,
there should be structured consequences.
Structured consequences: logical
consequences, isolation or chastisement.
The debate over spanking is
one battle in a larger cultural war over ethics.
Ironically, as society departs
from corporal punishment, it becomes more violent.
Chastisement is the price paid
to remove the child’s guilt.
If lesser methods are solely
used, a child suppresses guilt & grows hyperactive.
While the Bible does not command
chastisement, it commends it:
As God disciplines
in love & we should discipline out of love (Heb 12:3-10)
While discipline is painful,
it yields good character (Heb 12:11)
Chastise a child or they
will have more severe natural consequences (Pr 23:14)
So a parent who withholds
chastisement, actually hates the child (Pr 13:24)
A child without chastisement
will in turn bring shame to their parents (Pr 29:15)
Chastisement must start
early before it is too late (Pr 19:18)
Chastisement does not stifle
genius or creativity, it gives wisdom (Pr 29:15)
The child will not hate
you, but rather bring you comfort & delight (Pr 29:17)
Chastisement does not teach
violence but ultimately peacefulness (Heb 12:11)
Guidelines for chastisement:
It should be a private
matter between parent & child
Repentance, Forgiveness &
Establish the child’s guilt
& have him accept responsibility
Do not exceed physical limits
to injure (Pr 19:18) such as spanking on bare skin
Use a neutral object (Pr
23:13) with some flex yet enough weight to bring pain
Afterward, you may talk
& pray, let them think about it alone or consider it closed
75 to 80 percent of all
chastisement should be complete by 5 years of age
Freedom & Responsibility
Judges has a cycle of separation,
regret, repentance, forgiveness & restoration.
Regret over one’s actions differs
from repentance & is a lesser virtue.
Repentance focuses on how one’s
sin affects the relationship (2 Cor 7:9-10).
Love of the relationship puts
the offence in context & drives repentance.
Repentance means confessing
our sin & turning back to God.
Toddlers regret because of consequences,
but older children learn to repent.
The offender should confess
when asking forgiveness to the offended.
Forgiveness is a 3 step agreement:
the request, the offer, & the acceptance.
“I’m sorry” is used in the lesser
case of unintentional mistakes.
If a child confesses before
getting caught, punishment must still be carried out.
Restitution is required if there
is loss or damage in the offence.
Restoration may not happen immediately,
it may take a few minutes of reflection.
Young children want to hug &
older children demonstrate with attitude & action.
Learning is progressive, building
new concepts on top of more basic ones.
Actions proceed beliefs with
children, they can act morally before knowing why.
As the child grows, freedoms
are earned as responsibilities are demonstrated.
The following diagram illustrates
the increase of freedom with responsibility:
Between two extremes is a balanced
approach to parenting:
greater than self control = developmental confusion
Strict: Freedoms less
than self control = developmental frustration
Balanced: Freedoms equal
to self control = developmental harmony
Whining, Tantrums, Power Struggles,
Dishonesty & Siblings
Permissive parenting can end
in the child's enslavement to their passions.
Allowing too many freedoms too
early pushes the child “outside the funnel.”
A child addicted to choice does
not emotionally cope when there are no choices.
A child may wrongly see themselves
as wise & self sufficient (Pr 26:4-5, 12).
Authoritarian parenting can
end in abusive co-dependent relationships.
The parent must assess the child's
self control to determine the level of freedom.
Going from restraint to freedom
is easier than too much freedom to restraint.
Set appropriate boundaries &
allow restraint to give way to freedom.
Have children ask permission
rather than inform you of their decision.
Whining may be a subtle challenge
to authority to protest or frustrate parents.
Prior to 15 months, whining
indicates limited vocabulary.
At 8 months teach sign language
for more, please, thank you & all done.
With older children, have them
ask again after 3-5 minutes on the stove timer.
A temper tantrum is a rejection
of authority (Pr 25:28) for blackmail or revenge.
Under 2 1/2 years, walk away
or isolate them, then chastise them afterwards.
A frustration tantrum is when
a child cannot physically do something.
During frustration tantrums
make yourself available but insist they ask for help.
Diffuse power struggles with
wisdom parenting not power parenting.
Isolate them to diffuse it or
leave the room so they can surrender with dignity.
Both authoritarian & permissive
parents raise children prone to dishonesty.
Lying destroys the bridge of
trust linking each family member together.
Consider their motive for lying
& if you may be indirectly causing the dishonesty.
A chronic lying older child
is consumed with self interest & cannot rightly relate.
Stealing within the family shames
the child, but from others, it shames the family.
Stealing another’s reputation
by slanderous gossip cannot be restored.
Often learned from parents,
cheating effects self & ultimately others (Pr 11:1).
Sibling rivalry is when a child
perceives they are not loved.
Sibling conflict is a relational
& moral weakness that needs to be strengthened:
have them first
try to resolve their own conflicts before coming to the parents
Appealing to Authority
have a no tattling rule
except when health or safety is involved
be verbally & physically
kind: no hitting, pushing or bad talk (Rom 12:17)
have them esteem each other
by listening, sharing, praying, being courteous
teach them to love sacrificially
as they will their spouse one day (Jn 15:13)
Both authoritarian & permissive
parents have difficulty with the appeal process.
To appeal to authority acknowledges
another’s position over you.
To hear an appeal is to accept
one’s limited knowledge of the situation.
Appealing gives new information
that helps a parent make an informed decision.
Daniel (Dan 1:8-16), Paul (Acts
25:11) & Jesus (Mk 14:32-42) all appealed.
Appealing to authority glorifies
God & has many other benefits:
attractive because parents are approachable
reduces the risk of the
child becoming emotionally exasperated
prepares the child to interact
correctly with all authorities & relationships
allows the parent to change
their mind without compromising authority
develops trust: that the
child has new information & the parent will be fair
helps the transition from
obedience out of duty to submitting out of devotion
reduces the difficulties
associated with two authorities giving instructions
Guidelines for appealing to
the child is already
characterized by first time obedience
Building a Healthy Family
the appeal can only be made
to the parent giving the instructions
the child must come in humility
not argumentative or disrespectful
appeals can be made only
once to prevent it from reducing to begging
by using the words “may
I appeal” the child acknowledges your authority
appealing is not a way to
avoid obedience or state preferences
the parent must be fair
& flexible giving good reason for their yes or no
take the privilege away
temporarily if the child starts to appeal everything
Interdependent family relationships
confront problems & seek restoration.
Co-dependent family relationships
cover up problems out of insecurity.
The interdependent family fosters
protection, security & a “we-ism” attitude.
The independent family fosters
alienation & a “me-ism” attitude.
Opportunities outside the home
compete with family interdependence.
Children from interdependent
families look for similar relationships in later years.
Peer pressure on a child is
only as strong as family identity is weak.
Strategies for building family
identity & interdependence:
read after dinner
to build memories of togetherness
have the kids plan family
night to take ownership of the family
take walks together to help
family members reflect, open up & share
Develop community, a society
of families tied together with sharing interests.
Shared values between community
& home result in positive peer pressure.
Larger gaps between community
& family make for greater conflict at home.
Do not isolate from nonbelievers
but be a light to them (Mt 5:13-14).
Like Jesus did, let discipleship
culminate in friendship (Jn 15:14):
years) - develop boundaries to give way to freedoms
Training (6--12 years) -
drills & exercises in practice sessions of life
Coaching (13-17 years) -
from the sidelines coach children in the game of life
Friendship - parent/child
relationship remains & a new season of life is entered
Strive for excellence not mediocrity
to glorify God in all things (1 Cor 10:31).
A child distinguishes him or
herself by a their deeds (Pr 20:11).